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Hypermedia Online Publishing: the Transformation of the Scholarly Journal

1.8.4 Single e-journal readership survey

As indicated in [Berge and Collins, 1996], there has been very little survey work on e-journal readership. This section of the thesis reviews known survey work on single e-journal titles.

A study of the readership of Interpersonal Computing and Technology: An Electronic Journal for the 21st Century (IPCT Journal) gathered information on general attitudes to electronic publishing, preferred delivery formats and storage media, the level of acceptance of e-journals for promotion and tenure, and the demographics of the readership [Collins and Berge, 1994], [Berge and Collins, 1996]. The survey was posted to the IPCT Journal subscription list (N=1604 at the time of the survey) and the IPCT Discussion List (N=1118 at the time of the survey). There was considerable overlap in membership of the two lists. The response rate was around 18%.

[Gotsch and Reich, 1997] performed a series of studies related to the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), published by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) ASBMB) and Highwire Press. JBC is a very high-prestige journal and at the leading edge of parallel electronic/print delivery. These surveys (which took place in late 1996) consisted of:

The user surveys asked which version of JBC was used (print or online), reasons for non-use of the online version, advantages of each, responses to discontinuing the print version, and a ranking of various features of the online version. The author survey concentrated more explicitly on the print versus on-line issue, and also explored whether moving to online only would affect their decision to publish in JBC. The survey of institutional subscribers focused on the process of selecting print or online subscriptions, current subscription assessment practices, assessment of the worth of online subscriptions and reservations about moving to online.

[Woolfrey, 1995] discusses the results of a questionnaire sent in March 1994 to 427 subscribers to the Canadian Journal of Communication(CJC) which received a 21% response rate. The questions dealt with interest in receiving electronic copy, their willingness to pay for the added service (electronic as well as print), their reasons for wanting electronic copy and for wanting to search electronic texts, their electronic capabilities, and the other types of electronic information they would want CJC to provide.

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